Coontail
(Certatophyllum demersum)
(Photo Credit: NC State University)

The Frog Blog – Aquatic Weed Wednesday

Happy Wednesday everybody! Today I will be talking about a common aquatic plant that many of you may find in your pond or lake called coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum).

Coontail is a native aquatic plant that is commonly found throughout Ohio and the US. It is easily identified by its finely-divided, almost spikey-looking leaves that whorl around its branched stems. The whorls of leaves become denser at the tip of the plant creating an almost racoon-tail like appearance (perhaps where the name “coontail” comes from).

The coolest part about this plant is that it doesn’t necessarily rely on roots to absorb nutrients for growth and can draw nutrients from the water column. This allows coontail to do well in turbid water and changing depth situations. This also creates a competitive advantage against other aquatic plants that do rely on roots. Although native, coontail can grow to nuisance levels and since coontail can reproduce via fragmentation, management can be difficult at times. If you have nuisance coontail in your pond or lake, try not to disturb the bed as it will create more opportunities for stems to break from the bed and transport to other areas. Coontail is most easily managed with aquatic herbicides since the herbicide can cover a great area with little risk fragmentation.

By: Edward Kwietniewski

Aquatic Biologist

AQUA DOC Lake and Pond Management

Resources and External Links

Borman, Susan. Through the Looking Glass: A Field Guide to Aquatic Plants. Stevens Point, Wis. :Wisconsin Lakes Partnership, 1997. Print.

NC State University: http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/aquatic-plants/coontail

Edited by: Sharon Daneshmand